Several faculty recognized for longstanding service at UFCOMJ

Published: October 21, 2014

Faculty also updated on campus affairs during annual General Assembly

Joseph Tepas III, MD, a professor of surgery and pediatrics, has worn many hats during his lengthy career at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

Tepas, who arrived at UF in 1983, helped establish the pediatric surgery and trauma programs at UF Health Jacksonville. He later chaired COMJ’s surgery department for 11 years.

Today, he is chief of the pediatric surgery division and associate dean for clinical informatics for COMJ. Similarly, he serves as chief medical information officer for UF Health Jacksonville. In that role, he oversees the hospital’s use of the Epic electronic health record and patient care software systems.

Tepas was one of 14 COMJ faculty members recognized last month with Service Pin Awards, given annually to faculty who reach specific service milestones at the college. Tepas is the only one from this year’s group to have been here 30 years – 31 to be exact.

Tepas is grateful for his time at UF and is proud of what he’s helped the surgery department accomplish over the years. But right now, Tepas is simply happy to be here. The veteran pediatric surgeon just returned to work following an emergency double lung transplant in July. Though he has to be extremely cautious of his environment because of his suppressed immune system, he said he feels great, with energy levels comparable to before he became ill.

Now that he’s back at work, Tepas is focusing on a number of big-picture tasks, as a bulk of what he does these days is supervisory and administrative in nature.

For instance, Tepas is working with campus leaders on ways to optimize UF Health Jacksonville’s ratings regarding the quality and efficiency of patient care, especially as it relates to population-based health management. The major driver of these efforts is the data acquired via Epic, which is now almost completely used throughout the UF Health network.

Analysis of this data will not only determine UF Health Jacksonville’s ranking among regional and national health care providers but, more importantly, will help determine best clinical practices and new ways to treat prevalent diseases.

“Data has been the glue that has held systems of care together and will now become the fuel that will drive these systems to even greater levels of performance and cost efficiency,” Tepas said. “We intent to see that UF Health remains a leader in this increasingly important area of modern health care delivery.”

Service Pin Award winners

Following are the other COMJ faculty members who received Service Pin Awards for 20 or 10 years of service:

“Congratulations to this year’s Service Pin Award winners, whose talents and efforts continue to elevate the College of Medicine – Jacksonville,” said Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, the college’s dean. “The dedication you’ve shown to education, research and patient care is greatly appreciated.”

Campus updates

Several campus leaders spoke during the General Assembly, each giving an update on a particular focus.

Wayne Marshall, associate vice president for UF Health North, discussed the ongoing construction and development of that campus. An 800,000-square-foot outpatient medical complex is set to open in February. This state-of-the-art facility near the airport will feature a large emergency department, top-notch art imaging and laboratory services, and centers for birthing and catheterizations, among a host of other services.

“We’ve got a lot happening in a very short amount of time,” Marshall said. “Everything is one time. Nothing is slowing us down.”

The second phase of the UF Health North project calls for a 92-bed hospital, which is targeted for an early 2017 opening.

Greg Miller, chief operating officer at UF Health Jacksonville, provided an update of the Eighth St. hospital’s operations. At the time of the presentation, he said the hospital’s audit for fiscal year 2014 was in its final stages and that the hospital ended 2013-14 under budget.

He said goals include meeting scoring benchmarks for HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), reducing the amount of employee turnover, shortening patients’ average hospital stay and reducing the incidence of infections.

“We are focusing heavy on that,” Miller said about the last item.

Elisa Zenni, MD, associate dean for education affairs at COMJ, provided an accreditation update. COMJ has 365 residents and fellows. There are now 13 accredited core residency programs, 20 accredited fellowships and 12 clinical non-standard fellowships.

Tina Bottini, assistant dean for research affairs, gave an overview of research activity on campus. In the previous fiscal year, COMJ received nearly $25 million in research funding. More than 60 percent of the awards are for federally sponsored projects. Over the last five years, COMJ’s federally sponsored funding has grown by 120 percent.

Lastly, Nancy Frashuer spoke on the financial standing of the faculty practice plan, known as University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians Inc. (UFJPI), along with its sister organization, University of Florida Jacksonville Healthcare Inc. (UFJHI). 

Frashuer, senior vice president and chief financial officer for UFJHI and chief executive officer of UFJPI, reported that the pre-audited yearend financial statements for 2013-14 reflect a gain of $481,000 across all funds.  That represents an improvement of $1.55 million from the budgeted loss and is $1.19 million ahead of the previous year.

The budget for 2014-15 also has a loss of more than $1 million. This time it’s due to costs associated with the UF Health North campus. In each of the previous two years, the loss was because of costs related to conversion to the Epic electronic software system.

Victoria C. Array, M.D.
Robert T. Bass Jr., M.D.
Brian G. Celso, Ph.D.
David O. Childers, M.D.
Steven G. Dimmitt, D.O.
Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, M.D., M.P.H.
Hector E. James, M.D.
Brent E. Seibel, M.D., FACOG
Fern J. Webb, Ph.D.
Todd W. Wylie, M.D.

For more information, please contact:
UF Health Media Relations